Art, Animation & Film Analysis by James Chiang

James Chiang's Weekly Blog for Creative Insight & Inspiration

Latest articles

Overcoming Pessimism

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. —  Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher Fear is shadow, not substance. Unfortunately every man, woman or child out there is commonly living with fear, either consciously or unconsciously. Our consumption-based economy (and its accompanying marketing machine) practically relies...

Doodles in motion

The way to use reference is to learn so much about it that you don’t have to use the reference anymore. — Milt Kahl, Animator I agree wholeheartedly with Kahl’s statement. Exploration is one of the keys to thorough preparation in doing any craft. We must do the research so that we can be imaginative.… Continue reading →

Favorite Films: Part 11 – About Art & Artists

There have been many attempts by the film industry to make movies about artists and their art. Many of them are boring or preaching. Most lack the impact and inspirational power of the craft or the artists profiled. Almost all but a few have failed. Case in point, Jacques Rivette’s exceptionally slow but much revered… Continue reading →

Art, Craft & Technology

“If the technical innovation of the impressionists led merely to a more accurate representation of nature, it was perhaps of not much value in enlarging their powers of expression.” — Edward Hopper, Artist As cited before, I love technology. It can and has been a miracle. Adventures in science have led to great advances in … Continue reading Art, Craft...


“Tradition is not solely, or even primarily, the maintenance of certain dogmatic beliefs; these beliefs have come to take their living form in the course of the formation of a tradition. What I mean by tradition involves all those habitual actions, habits and customs, from the most significant religious rite to our conventional way of … Continue reading...


In animation, we often say spacing is timing. Well, that’s not exactly true or complete, but spacing is a key component of any movement (along with time and path of action). When done wrong, spacing seems non-existent or an afterthought leading to flat work that’s both weightless and unconvincing. When done right, spacing gives action … Continue reading...

The Importance of Risk

“One must jump off the cliff with hands free.” — Zen Proverb What does it mean “to jump off with hands free?” Perhaps simply this: to leap into the unknown without holding on because the “hands that hold” prevent us from lifting off. So what are we holding on to? And why are we so … Continue reading The Importance of Risk →

Favorite Films: Part 10

Times of great crisis are also times of great opportunity. What has been considered normal — the previously accepted — can no longer be viewed as acceptable. In front of all of us now, both in America and elsewhere, we can plainly see the gross injustices and prejudices that continue to plague the world; oppressions … Continue reading Favorite Films:...

The Need for Order

“There is in me an anarchy and frightful disorder. Creating makes me die a thousand deaths, because it means making order, and my entire being rebels against order. But without it I would die, scattered to the winds.” — Albert Camus, Writer It can be stated that order is as essential to living as is … Continue reading The Need for Order →

The Breakdown Key

“Music is the space between the notes.” — Claude Debussy, Composer Today I’m gonna share a simple tip that will greatly improve one’s animation. We’re talking, of course, of what is commonly known as the “Breakdown Key.” Whichever method an animator may choose work in, straight ahead or pose-to-pose, we all know that all shots are built … Continue reading...

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